I love Lovecraft. Let’s just get that out of the way to start with. I could start this with some evocative phrase like: Cthulhu was dead, to begin with. You’d blink and think, I’ve heard that line before …. wait … she’s ripping off A Christmas Carol! and you’d be completely and utterly correct. While Dickens didn’t have a dead, dreaming Elder God in mind when he evoked the dread of Marley was dead, to begin with, it’s Christmas and both stories spiral into that other world, at the edge of the abyss, of man’s subconscious. Eighty-five years separate the two: A Christmas Carol in 1843 and the first appearance of Cthulhu in 1928. I bring up A Christmas Carol for two reasons: It’s December 17th (still), for a few more moments, and the story was originally published on December 17, 1843 — that’s ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY YEARS AGO — and the second reason is because it kind of fits with what The Littlest Lovecraft is doing with this:
Here is the Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/237875309714273/240882192746918/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity . It’s been great fun, so far, and there are days left. I’ll be blunt: there are tentacle dice on the line for this, which is why this review is appearing today instead of later on with a proper interview with the writer and artist, but that will, I hope come at another time.
Six Tentacle Dice….
That will, however, in no way influence my review of the book, because I love the book just that much, and have since before it was released. I’ve purchased multiple copies. I donated one to the library and can tell you (happily) that it is currently checked out and when it manages to rest from BEING checked out, it’s being perused and flipped through and enjoyed.
I came across it by accident. I was looking for prizes to give away during the annual Coffin Hop Blog Tour in October. A children’s book? R’lyeh? Okay, that was bad, I admit it. But, a lavishly, darkly illustrated tome true to Lovecraft’s vision and story crafting that is meant to be read aloud? Unholy hell, I wished I hadn’t had a theme for Halloween Story Time this year! The artwork is fantastic and evocative and reading the book (as I first did) on my HTC phone because I was too impatient to wait for the hard copy to reach me took nothing away from the experience. It translated beautifully among the media. Another thing I appreciated is how the respect with which the authors treat the story shines through all aspects of it. Nothing is over the top or overdone or watered down just because it is a picture book. It’s true, you know, with the tiniest of children who do not yet have a grasp or comprehension of language; pictures are the medium through which they experience the story. There is obviously a lot going on in each and every drawing–the movement, the palette chosen–all of these enhance the text and never detract from it. Before the scenes aboard Emma and Alert, the artwork has a very Edward Gorey feel. Whether or not that was intentional, it works. It works wonderfully.
Be aware, the whole tale is here–from the cultists to the uncharted island of supernatural terror that is the corpse-city of R’lyeh, to the insanity aboard Alert. There is real horror here. As the artwork does not detract from the original story, neither does this retelling of it. The metered phrasing is A-B-C-B, like many children’s books, but there is nothing forced about finding the words to fit the rhyming scheme or meter. Because of the lilting phrasing, it is a book you can enjoy with your little ones without completely freaking them out. I suppose I should mention that I’m old enough to remember when people were concerned that some of Dr. Seuss’ artwork and storylines would “freak out the children.”
It is still on my phone. I scroll through and read it from time to time. I suppose you could classify it as a “quick fix” for Lovecraft addicts on the go in its eBook form. In its hardcover form, it is something to cradle and curl up with, to fix a nice cup of tea with and just sink inside the beautiful, terrifying, adora-horrible mythos….
Five Bloody Handprints because it’s just that awesome!